The cultural history of highland Peru suggests that once great empires, such as the Wari (600-1000AD) and Inca (1438-1532AD), supported their populations through highly innovative agricultural systems. Irrigated terrace agriculture in particular blanketed the landscape, transforming its morphology through remarkable engineering, and bringing large scale food production to marginal areas. Maintenance and restoration of these ancient agricultural systems by government programmes, local communities and charities (following their widespread decline at the end of the Inca period) has demonstrated the potential for enhancing food production and reducing poverty. However, some of this work has been successful, whilst some has failed. We will seek to understand the factors that have been significant. The functioning of these systems also needs to be better understood e.g. what are the water sources, how is it stored, which plant varieties are cultivated, what is the role of animals in enhancing soil fertility, and what is the role of burning? How have these parameters changed with time? Climate change is of considerable concern and we will work closely with the government to improvement models of climate prediction, and evaluate the impact on water availability. Educating people on the relationship between climate change and food production will be important for future management, and we will form a network to enable this to develop. We consider these research themes to be important given our track-record. We will report the outcomes to government agencies and the wider public through workshops and publications to inform future policy and practice.
|Effective start/end date||1/01/18 → 31/12/18|
- Academy of Medical Sciences